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GAA stalwart Wattie Byrne had many interests but family was always the most important thing


The late Wattie Byrne.

The late Wattie Byrne.

The late Wattie Byrne.


Devoted family man and GAA fan Walter (Wattie) Byrne of Rathimney, Gusserane, passed away on Monday, August 8, aged 81.

Wattie, a son of Edward and Ellen Byrne, grew up in Rathimney with his siblings, Bridie (Dillon), Sr Mary (deceased) and Richie.

He attended Gusserane National School and Sheilbaggan Vocational School. Following school, he took over the family farm and farmed all his life.

He met his wife Nellie English at a Macra dance and they were happily married for 46 years before her death in 2016. Wattie and Nellie had two children, Eamonn and Helena, and seven grandchildren whom they both loved dearly.

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Family was everything to Wattie and he to them as he was a constant in all their lives.

Outside of family, Wattie had many great interests. These included farming, current affairs, playing cards, sport and in particular GAA. GAA was one of his greatest passions, both club and county. He played both hurling and football for Gusserane O Rahilly’s winning a county final in 1965.

Wattie served for 30 years as treasurer of his beloved club, where he made life long friends. For more than 40 years Wattie and those GAA friends, without fail, made the annual pilgrimage to the All-Ireland Football final in Croke Park.

Neighbours and his many friends from all walks of life were very important to Wattie. He was a reliable and true friend.

Wattie began farming at an early age building up a diverse farm of dairy, beef and tillage. A great stockman, as well as a tillage man, he was very particular about the day to day farm husbandry.

In business dealings he was firm but fair and right was right and wrong was wrong.

Another of his favourite pastimes was playing the card game 45. He played in many places, but most favourably in Harts of Campile, Rosies of Dunmain and Gusserane Hall. He loved a good game of cards and played many a game at home in Rathimney.

A huge crowd attended the wake in his home and funeral mass which was celebrated by Fr. Laffan in Gusserane church.

Members of the Gusserane O’Rahilly GAA club formed a guard of honour as the coffin was taken from the church to the graveyard where he was laid to rest.

Wattie is sadly missed by his loving family, daughter Helena, son Eamonn, sister Bridie Dilllon, brother Richie, son in law Eamonn, daughter in law Marianne, seven grandchildren, extended family, neighbours and friends.

May his gentle soul Rest in Peace.